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Tips for nutrition and exercise during pregnancy

Image credit: https://nannyoptions.ie
Image credit: https://nannyoptions.ie

When I talk to patients that are expecting a baby, the first thing I make sure they know is that unfortunately, it’s not “Eating for Two”.

Whoever came up with that saying should be jailed, I swear!

I actually vividly remember thinking when I was young, “I can’t wait to get pregnant, I’ll be able to eat whatever I want!” Haha, if the young me only knew. And while, near the end of my pregnancy, I started to live by those words- enter 10 lb weight gain in last month, oops- they just aren’t true.

So, how much exactly, should a pregnant woman eat? In general, for women who are a healthy weight prior to becoming pregnant, caloric needs increase about 340 to 450 calories per day in the second and third trimesters to help grow that baby, but that’s it! Check out
www.choosemyplate.gov  for guidance on nutrition during this important time. The more commonly used marker to monitor healthy intake is weight gain in pregnancy- If a woman is under weight going into pregnancy (a BMI under 18.5) the

The more commonly used marker to monitor healthy intake is weight gain in pregnancy- If a woman is under weight going into pregnancy (a BMI under 18.5) the expected weight gain is approximately 28-40 lbs. If a woman is in the healthy BMI range (18.5-24.9) her expected weight gain is 25-35 lbs If she is overweight (BMI 25-29.9) her weight gain is expected to be 15-25 lbs If she is obese (BMI greater than 30) her weight gain is expected to be 11-20 lbs. These of course are just guidelines, so it’s important to talk to your obstetrician about what is best for you and your pregnancy.

And then there is the magical breastfeeding weight loss diet that everyone talks about. Well, when breastfeeding, your body needs somewhere around an extra 450-500 calories a day as well for production of breast milk. This is why most women who breastfeed tend
to notice a lot of that pregnancy weight comes off a little easier. But every woman is different, so unfortunately, it’s not the case for everyone.

And what about exercise? If a woman is healthy and has no complications with her pregnancy, and in conjunction with discussing with her obstetrician, it is safe for her to continue to “moderate intensity” exercise through pregnancy and while breastfeeding, such
as walking, jogging, stationary cycling, swimming, or strength training- particularly when she was doing these sorts of activities before becoming pregnant. In fact, regular exercise (150 minutes a week) has been shown to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. There
are certain activities that should be avoided, such as things that pose a direct risk to the developing baby and enlarging tummy, including contact sports like boxing, soccer, basketball, or hot yoga/hot Pilates ( which can raise core temperature too much). Also avoid sky diving and scuba diving, which are on the list of things to be avoided when pregnant as well, ha!

There have been no studies to confirm that exercise impacts milk supply or the way the milk tastes when a woman is breastfeeding. There used to be theoretical risks of lactic acid being produced in breast milk when a woman was involved in high-intensity anaerobic workouts, but no studies have proven this. So don’t be afraid to go get your sweat on!


This post is sponsored by Northern Nevada Medical Group


About Amanda Magrini

Amanda Magrini
Amanda Magrini, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Nevada Medical Group’s Los Altos location in Sparks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and her medical training at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Magrini has practiced family medicine for seven years, including residency, and enjoys her specialty, because she likes taking care of the whole family, from newborns to grandparents. She likes preventative medicine, helping people take care of themselves and the relationships she is able to form with her patients. Dr. Magrini grew up in Sparks, NV and likes that it is a safe place to live with great educational opportunities and beautiful scenery. She thinks Northern Nevada is a great place to raise a family and looks forward to raising her own children here. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, boating, running and traveling the world. Dr. Magrini is also very close with her family; she is married to her high school sweetheart and values spending time with him and the rest of her family. Disclosure: "The author is a licensed physician practicing with Northern Nevada Medical Group, but all opinions expressed are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northern Nevada Medical Group or any other affiliates of Universal Health Services, Inc."

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